Finally, the curtain has drawn on Donald Trump’s vaudevillian presidential run and, after nearly 600 days, the lights went down with a shocking twist: victory. While his detractors’ immediate shock will likely prevent them from having 20/20 hindsight, the Trump troupe’s success shows that any should’ve-could’ve-would’ve-punch lists naysayers had prepared in advance of the outcome should be thrown in the political waste bin.

For example, Trump should’ve avoided apocalyptic pronouncements; behaved with maturity; considered global complexities; dropped his caustic attitude; eschewed divisive language; followed his team’s directions; given veterans respect; hidden his ostentation; initiated informed solutions; jumped to fewer conclusions; kept silent sometimes; litigated disputes selectively; and made viable proposals.

But he didn’t, and still he won.

Next, if he’d done what he should’ve, then Trump could’ve noticed demographic trends; offered empathy; proposed feasible strategies; questioned disagreement civilly; respected diversity; stopped whining; tweeted prudently; understood history; verified “factual” claims; worded thoughts cohesively; nixed his back-patting vitriol; yapped less rabidly; and zeroed in on details.

But he didn’t, and still he won.

Last, had Trump completed the could’ve and should’ve steps, he would’ve bolstered public unity; driven positive discourse; faced dissent with dignity; harbored no hatred; jettisoned discrimination; learned valuable lessons; nurtured harmony; polished his policies; raised issues awareness; told the truth; voiced practical ideas; welcomed discussion; and yammered less incessantly.

But he didn’t, and still he won.

Now, with final votes tallied and Trump’s garish tent wide open, reviews of his performance are in. They show that Trump grabbed the opportunity to bask in the reassuring applause he worships — even though he didn’t consider should’ve-could’ve-would’ve during his script readings and backstage preparations for the political limelight.

Trump’s campaign closes as the exact opposite of a Greek tragedy: He radiates hubris, and still he won.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.